Armação de Pêra history
Like other towns on the Algarve coast Armação de Pêra, whose first known written reference goes back to 1577, developed from a small fishing community,
During the XVII century a fortress was built in 1667 to protect pirates and corsairs who could attack the tuna nets of what was then called Pera de Baixo, after which they began to call Armação de Pera because of the structures made for tuna fishing (called an Armação).
Around 1720 a hermitage was built inside the fortress in invocation to the patron saint of the fort. This chapel survived to this day and is now known as the Chapel of Our Lady of the Afflicted.
At the time of the tsunami of 1755, 84 people died in Armação de Pêra, and only one house remained.
Due to the appearance of tourism in the Algarve, the famous Casino was built in the 60s, which was one of the most modern for the time. The activities that until then were considered the local economic base passed, little by little, to secondary places and were the new ones that gained relevance. Justifying the appearance of other activities, to respond to requests by tourists.
With the outbreak of mass tourism, Armação de Pêra began to be frequented not only by the upper class but also by people from the middle and lower middle classes.
Nowadays, Armação de Pêra continues to be a village facing the sea, although fishing activity has already lost significant importance due to the role that tourism has played in the village, it is the main source of income, not only the village, but also the municipality of Silves.
In the middle of August, it reaches a population of around 80,000 inhabitants due to the great influx of Portuguese and International visitors.
Where to stay in Armação de Pêra
Armação de Pêra has grown considerably in the last few decades, and the fishing village has given way to a tourist resort with many hotels, aparthotels, villas and apartments.
The village of Armação nowadays is composed by the zone next to the fisherman’s beach, and by the most recent part where many buildings predominate on each side of the avenue to the west.
However, if you prefer something more picturesque you will also find there are still some small typical houses available to rent.
Armação de Pera has some of its best hotels right by the sea, such as the Holiday Inn or the Algar Apartments right on the beach. In addition, there are resorts such as Nautical, or if you want a luxury experience just 2 km from Armação in Alporchinhos are the 5* resorts Vila Vita and Vila Lara all with beautiful beaches just a few steps away.
Armação de Pera Beaches
Armação de Pera is a popular resort in the Algarve and it has a very welcoming feel and an excellent choice of beaches.
Near the old part of the town is Praia dos Pescadores, here you can frequently see fishermen mending their nets along the beach and also the traditional fishing boats. Many are still used for fishing, and on others you can go on a boat trip to the fantastic caves near to Armação de Pera and also to Benagil.
Praia da Armação de Pêra has lots of access points along its length and various cafés and restaurants on and above the beach.
The beach has many parts that have specific names like Praia da Fortaleza, in front of the huge Fort, Praia do Mini Golf, which as the name suggests was next to a mini golf course that was there for decades and was a meeting point for many holidaying families. The course is now gone, however its been replaced by a pretty garden area with benches to relax and enjoy the views.
Next to here is the area known as Praia do Hotel Garbe, in front of what is now the Holiday Inn hotel. At this end of the beach are a couple more beach restaurants, serving, of course, locally caught fish- it couldn’t be fresher.
Near to Praia do Mini Golf and Praia do Hotel Garbe you can also try lots of watersports such as stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), flyboarding, jet skis, water skiing and inflatable rides like the banana boat.
Praia da Armação de Pêra is supervised with lifeguards on duty during the ‘beach season’ and is also classified as an ‘Accessible Beach’.
The eastern end of the beach stretches as far as you can see and is haven for beach goers looking for a quieter area to relax. For those who enjoy a stroll it’s possible to walk from here along Praia Grande de Pêra, past the lagoons of Salgados with their many migrating birds, and all the way to the award winning Galé beach in Albufeira. This is a distance of approximately 4km making it one of the longest beaches in the Algarve.
The western end of the beach stretches past Praia do Hotel Garbe and is stopped by the intriguing rocks, cliffs and caves of Praia da Nossa Senhora da Rocha, and here you can find the amazing beaches of Cova Redonda, Senhora da Rocha and Praia Nova.
Praia da Senhora da Rocha where you can find the fisherman’s boats and Vilarinho restaurant, was considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Its also famous for the beautiful white chapel which rests on the edge of the cliffs.
From Senhora da Rocha there is a tunnel excavated right through the cliffs which serves as a passage to get to Praia Nova which is a beautiful long sandy beach with amazing scenery including red cliffs topped by green umbrella pines, sloping down to the azure seas and golden sands.
Cova Redonda is surrounded by high cliffs and lies to the east of Senhora da Rocha Beach, with access via a long but gentle series of steps between lush vegetation. Cova Redonda Beach has small patches of sand scattered amongst rock formations carved out by erosion.
Where to eat or drink in Armação de Pera
Armação de Pêra, has plenty of choice for where to eat! Many restaurants along the main avenida on the front, and also on the many side streets offer great value local Portuguese dishes of fresh fish, seafood and meat as well salads, omelets and snacks.
Here you can find typical fresh fish restaurants on the beach forefront, like Serol, one of the oldest restaurants in Armação de Pera, or Italian, Indian or Chinese restaurants.
Most of the restaurants are centered in the old village, the restaurants offer fresh fish just caught on Praia dos Pescadores, sometimes you can even see the fisherman’s going along the restaurants with buckets full of fish or seafood.
One other great place to eat is Casa de Pasto Zé Leiteiro, enjoy delicious all-you-can-eat fish served with potatoes and salad; the fish keep coming until you tell them to stop. They don’t take reservations, so it is better to go early or be prepared to wait for a seat if its high season, as this restaurant is very popular due to the fresh fish and the reduced price you pay for all that is served.
Nearby you find nice bars to have a drink (Pedro`s Bar or Rocha da Palha) on the beach front and enjoy the sun or stunning sunset you can view from Armação de Pera bay. You can choose from bar on the beach, where you can put your feet on the sand and relax having a nice cold drink or on the cliffs (Olival Mar on the west side) and enjoy the fantastic view.
On Senhora da Rocha Beach there is Vilarinho restaurant where you can have a grilled fish as well or just have a drink and enjoy the views.
If you are looking for luxury, then head to the Alporchinhos part of the town and there is the Ocean Restaurant in Vila Vila Resort which is a Michelin Star restaurant with a fantastic view.
Or if you’re looking for some great English food, like fish and chips on Fridays, then head for The Water Dog pub near to The Holiday Inn.
Markets, Fairs & Festivals
Armação de Pera is quiet during the winter season, but during the festive season it hosts a great a New Year party near the beach with fireworks and live concerts.
There is a local market every Saturday throughout the year, where you can find fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. In the summer this market gets much bigger and the sellers came from further afield and you can find olives, home-made honey and olive oil, and sausages from Alentejo.
In Pera, just 2 km from Armação every year there is “Arraial do Petisco” in the last weekend in July and 1st weekend in August. The “Petisco Party” is held at the sportsground from around 20.00 to 02.00 am and has live music each night as well as a whole range of tasty Petiscos of traditional savoury snacks and tapas on offer as well as a different main dish every night.
Every year in the summer time, Armação de Pera holds the “Festival da Caldeira da e do Mar” (Fish Stew and pleasures from the sea) for a week, with local restaurants presenting diverse suggestions related to this traditional ‘cauldron’ type of pot and the flavours of the sea.
Every year when the summer comes the main street of Armação de Pera is filled by performers and street musicians to entertain the many people strolling along the front or relaxing in the outside terraces of the cafes and restaurants. Music and shows are held all over this area.
Every summer in Senhora da Rocha the World Music Festival, Sons do Atlântico takes place with sounds from all over the world.
Three years ago a new festival started in Armação de Pêra; Pirate Week is a place where history and fantasy meet in a five-day festival that includes street performers, food stalls, a market and pirate battles! For 2017 Pirate Week moved to a new location in Senhora da Rocha but with all the same fun and events.
Every year in August on Armação de Pêra beach a procession to honour “Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes” takes place, where all the boats are decorated and go sailing up to Nossa Senhora da Rocha chapel and return, this usually is at sun set, and it’s a spectacle not to be missed.
Once a year in the Carnival season in February Armação is filled by people from around to watch the colourful parade which usually takes place on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday.
Attractions & Activities in Armação de Pera
In Armação de Pera there is plenty to see and do.
Just 5 km away is Zoomarine, one of the premier family attractions in the Algarve, offering a blend of shows featuring dolphins and seas lions, informative exhibits and water park attractions all in one location open from March to November.
If you love animals, Krazy World Zoo is a great family attraction including a petting zoo, reptiles, crazy golf and large swimming pool area, making it an ideal destination all through the year and it is only a few km away, in Algoz.
Fiesa Sand City, a sand sculpture festival where every year you can find different huge sand sculptures that will blow your mind is also nearby.
Families or groups can have lots of fun at Aqualand water park that offers a variety of slides and rides to keep you busy the entire day.
For beach and water sports lovers, Armação de Pêra beach has Jet Skiing, Flyboarding and inflatable rides like banana or rings just in front of Holiday Inn Hotel. From Praia dos Pescadores you can get a boat trip to see the fantastic caves and coves in the Carvoeiro and Benagil areas.
How far is Armação de Pera from…?
Faro Airport – 52 km (approx. 50 minute drive)
Vilamoura – 30 km (approx. 30 minute drive)
Zoomarine – 6km (approx. 8 minute drive)
Aqualand water park – 5 km (approx. 6 minute drive)
Algarve Shopping Centre, Guia – 9km (approx. 10 minute drive)
Spanish Border – 95km (approx. 1 hour drive)
Sagres – 75km (approx. 1 hour)
Lisbon – 270km (approx. 2hr 40)
Seville – 290 km (approx.. 3hr drive)
Where is the bus station and train station in Armação de Pera?
There isn’t a train station in the town and the nearest is located in Alcantarilha Gare approximately 12km from centre of Armação de Pera. By taxi, traffic allowing, it normally takes about 15mins and cost about €5-€10 depending on where you’re staying.
Armação de Pera does not have a bus station but it has two main bus stops. You can either get your ticket online or at the Holiday Inn reception. One of the bus stops it is just aside of the Holiday Inn entrancec and the other is the east entrance of Armação de Pera on the main road.
How much is a taxi from Faro Airport to Armação de Pera?
From Armação de Pera to the airport is approximately 52km and 50 minutes away.
As a guide for the price if you take a taxi from the rank outside the airport it’s about €60 each-way (€120 return), or by pre-booked private transfer about €45 each-way (€90 return) so it’s well worth booking in advance if possible.
Some taxis charge extra (€2-€5) if you take the toll road which is a little quicker. Larger vehicles, such as 8-seater mini-buses also cost a little extra however it does work out significantly cheaper than 2 normal (4-seater) taxis.
If you are on a budget there are shuttle buses available or you can use the train, but note that you need to go to Estação de Alcantarilha and get a taxi to your accommodation in Armação de Pera.